ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — A top analyst says Maryland’s budget for the next fiscal year is in better shape than in recent years.

The Baltimore Sun reports that Warren Deschenaux, the state’s chief budget analyst, told a panel of lawmakers Tuesday that next year’s operating budget may have a shortfall of about $27 million. That’s compared to previous years during the recession and its aftermath when lawmakers faced shortfalls in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

Still, Deschenaux says there are enough uncertainties to proceed with caution.

That’s because the looming “fiscal cliff” in Washington could potentially trigger a package of steep tax hikes and program cuts could erode the state’s fiscal outlook.

Deschenaux is recommending lawmakers build in an additional $200 million cushion in addition to the state’s rainy day fund.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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